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Ray Spears Passes Away

"I ran away to Charlottesville..."

... lyrics from the song "The Old Home Place" welcome listeners to WTJU's long-running Saturday-night bluegrass show of the same name. In 1998 Ray Spears joined our volunteer staff to host The Old Home Place every other week.

On Sunday, December 11, 2005 Ray Spears passed away after losing a long bout with cancer. He was 67 years old.

Those of you who listened to his show know that there was never a time when he wasn't offering solace to listeners who were "shut ins" or ill or just needed a few words of encouragement. In his last shows, though, Ray never let on that he himself might be in need of solace. Ray didn't like for people to make a fuss over him and we respected his privacy during his illness.

If you are one of those people who have been touched by Ray, WTJU invites you to either send a story or letter about your experiences by email to WTJU or to the address below. We will compile all of the comments and present them to his widow, Mrs. Spears.

Ray Spears Stories
WTJU-FM
PO Box 400811
Charlottesville VA 22904-4811


Old Home Place
By Mitch Jayne (version by J. D. Crowe)

It's been ten long years since I left my home
In the hollow where I was born
Where the cool fall nights makes the wood smoke rise
And the fox hunter blows his horn

I fell in love with a girl from the town
I thought that she would be true
I ran away to Charlottesville
And worked in a sawmill or two.

What have they done to the old home place
Why did they tear it down
And why did I leave the plow in the fields
And look for the job in the town

Well the girl ran off with somebody else
and the taverns took my pay
And I'm standing here where the old home stood
Before they took it away

Now the geese fly south and the cold wind blows
As I stand here and hang my head
for I've lost my love I've lost my home
And now I wish that I was dead

What have they done to the old home place
Why did they tear it down
And why did I leave the plow in the fields
And look for the job in the town

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The opinions expressed by announcers or guests on WTJU are not necessarily the opinions of WTJU or the University of Virginia.